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As the interest in home baking is increasing day-by-day among the home bakers, baking and customized cake decoration have carved a niche for itself in the world of patisserie and sugarcraft, opening huge business opportunities for the bakers. It has motivated many home bakers to become successful entrepreneurs from being an amateur. Cakes being an inevitable part of our celebrations assure that this trend is here to stay.

When it comes to the business side of customized cake decoration, it has many facets to it. Most of the bakers who are in the business did not start baking or decorating cakes with the intention of starting a business. The business just happened because of various reasons which could differ from person to person even though it was never much of a business thought to get started off in the first place.

If you have the interest, cake decorating is fun, and making someone’s special day even more special with your artistic skill is indeed what this career is all about. However, behind all that fun part, there goes a lot of work, time and money invested in it. Again, it’s not as intimidating as it looks like if you understand the basics of running a home bakery. Here, we have compiled 6 factors to consider that will help you ease the process of starting a home bakery.

1. Baking Tools & Supplies

In the beginning, you may only need a few basic tools and equipment such as a heavy-duty mixer, bowls, spatulas, an oven, and enough space to work around a cake which could probably be your own kitchen itself in the starting phase. Everything else could be added to the existing facility that you already have as the business grows. The raw materials/ingredients can be purchased according to the orders in the beginning, and later on, you can find a supplier who would provide the supplies for a reasonable rate.

2. Planning & Event Calendar

Advance planning and keeping a calendar for events and holidays are must when you are in this business, so that you can spice up your business with special editions for the season. Also, the calendar will help you manage the orders and delivery.

3. Food Safety & Health Requirements

When you’re in the food business you might want to make sure that you meet with the health requirements of your city for food safety purposes. Yes, baking is a messy work but it is a sweet mess if you take care of a few things before it becomes a big mess.

4. Price Tags & Expenses

Now comes the interesting part, putting a price tag on your product. In the beginning, if others outside your family ask for custom-made cakes, make sure they are willing to pay for it as well. The rule is if you are going to make this a business you must treat it like one. If you are new to this you obviously cannot charge them a bomb, however, make sure you don’t hesitate to charge them reasonably. To begin with, you can check out the prices with the nearby bakeries to get an idea and come up with a price tag that is not too intimidating for your customers. Later, as the business grows your price graph will also grow automatically.

5. Family Support

Along with the fun and happy decorative sprees, there is also a challenging side to running a home bakery. It requires some commitment of your time that your family may not want to sacrifice. So, your family’s support is very important if you are considering this as a home business. And as far as honing your skill sets are concerned, the classes and speciality equipment can be expensive too but totally worth.

6. Training and Honing your Skills

Bakeries make good cakes but that comes nowhere near to the homemade ones where you spend hours putting things together to make something exceptionally special. Again, that will happen only if you have enough knowledge in baking and sugarcraft. As soon as you figure out your interest lies in and around cakes & bakes, make sure to get yourself trained professionally in a culinary school to take your baking game to the next level.

If you have considered all these factors and are ready to step in, you are most welcome to the wonderful world of storytelling cakes and sugar arts. This is to be a most rewarding and creative business and is an art that keeps stretching your imagination and building your skills, making others happy.

If you love to bake and the idea of being a home baker excites you much, then you must begin with building your foundation right by learning the baking & patisserie skills from world-class chefs to have an amazingly adventurous journey ahead in the world of cakes and bakes. You never know where your knowledge in patisserie would take you in the future!

The post How to Start a Baking Business from Home? appeared first on ICCA.

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ICCA Dubai by Nasarene Dhanki - 7M ago

The bread and butter of any business is the customer. For the shopper though, one of the most frustrating aspects of buying is arguably arriving at the realisation that one has not received value for their money. Whether it is from a defective product or an incomplete service, the struggle is a perpetual one for consumers around the world.

In the field of learning and education, students are customers too (paying for a complete and effective service) just as they are in an ordinary retail environment. A solid foundation, when learning anything, is best attained through diligent teachers that can wield the correct materials and information in the most comprehensible way, to facilitate the understanding and satisfaction of every student. When given the choice between a patient teacher or a hasty one, a substantial wealth of information or an incomplete one, a satisfied and confident frame of mind when you leave the classroom or a sense of instability… it is only natural (and correct!) to desire the former of each option. Lack of teacher qualification and incomplete course content inevitably brings about dissatisfaction amongst students. And why, when you are spending your hard earned wages on enhancing your set of skills, would you settle for any less than your highest expectations? Here at the ICCA Sugarcraft Studio, we deliver excellence in both our teaching methods and our materials. The Rolls Royce of Sugar Crafting, if you would say!

I believe that to begin rightly is to end rightly. The art of learning can be paralleled in some ways to the principles of architecture. As with any mega-structure, setting a good and strong foundation is vital to ensure that the building stands steadfast and endures well. At ICCA we provide a breadth of information, delivered only by City & Guilds certified instructors in the region, as well as follow up support and advice so that every student leaves able to perform everything they did in the classroom confidently in their own time too.

Our certified programme is divided into three very comprehensive modules: the first ‘Sugar paste’ module covers the A to Z of techniques utilising rolled sugar; the second module covers ‘flower making’ with botanical attention to detail, finish and bouquet-making techniques; the third module is the ‘all and sundry’ concerning liquid and piped sugar – this is the ‘royal icing’ module. Every student that successfully navigates these three modules are awarded a City & Guilds, London Certification.

Of course, at ICCA the learning never stops! Graduated students are offered on-going support and advice from their instructors if they do so wish. In addition, if any student wants to take their qualifications further, the Sugarcraft department also offers additional courses of advanced techniques such as ‘patch-working in sugar’, ‘sugar lace’, ‘advanced modelling’, ‘cake carving’ and more! This leaves the prospective individual with the ability to tackle projects at competition levels. Each course of instruction also equips the student with Professional Business knowledge and an informed approach to starting up entrepreneurial endeavours of their own.

With a well-rounded experience as to the How, What and Why on the world of cake decoration, let it be writ for the record that the ‘how’ is imparted with British Sugarcraft Guild level skills. The ‘what’ involves comprehensive and complete course content as well as follow-up support/advice where needed (this is unlike any other in the region). Leading to the ‘why’ – this naturally encompasses customer satisfaction and value for their course fee without undue pressure to undergo other additional as mandatory before choosing to do this course.

Pick as you will – the Sugarcraft Department welcomes you and will equip you with additional skills set, after all, we are in the business of enhancing lives!

The post How, What and Why of Sugarcraft appeared first on ICCA.

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A food production professional for 20 plus years, Chef Vinod has worked with some of the biggest International hotel chains and fine dine outlets in the GCC and the Middle East.

Masters in Hospitality Management from the Wales Bridge University, USA; Food Production Instructor from the American Hotel and Lodging Association; and an HABC Level 3 Food Safety in Catering Supervision; he has been a culinary trainer for 14 years, ten of which he has been with ICCA as a chef instructor. His specialities include Training & Development, International Cooking, Food Safety & Hygiene Training.

Diligent, Intelligent, Sober & a great Motivator – that is how one would describe Chef Vinod as I’m sure all his colleagues and students would agree. We had to literally catch him in between the breaks to get him to tell us more.

 Me: Chef Vinod, tell us something about yourself that we don’t know and which is unrelated to the kitchen?
CV:
I’m very passionate about cricket and I follow cricket very closely. Also, International Politics and News. I also am an avid reader and enjoy particularly reading on World and Indian History & Philosophy.

Me: Works of which authors do you like to read?
CV:
I like reading Shakespearean literature, works by Max Mueller and Shashi Tharoor amongst the recent ones.

Me: Politics, cricket, philosophy all are so distant from cookery. What got you interested in food production?
CV:
My mom’s cooking. She literally had magic fingers and the magic touch to whatever she made. The lingering flavours and lasting taste that her dishes left behind, is the reason why I am a chef today.

Me: What is it that you enjoy most about culinary training?
CV: When I joined the industry I was shy, timid and very reserved. The way we were instructed and taught was very different back then. I have even witnessed physical abuse. I faced a lot of difficulties and learnt things the very hard way. I was always keen that certain things should change about the way things were taught. And I implement that change in my class now, which I find very gratifying.

Me: Who would you most attribute your learning to?
CV:
A lady chef, Anita Bidini, I had the opportunity to work with in an Italian kitchen whilst I was in Muscat. She mentored, motivated and guided me well. The right instructor can make all the difference.

Me: How is culinary training different from working in a production kitchen?
CV:
Training school is a place where chefs are created for the kitchen. A trainer needs to be patient, a good listener and a good motivator. Here the trainees are allowed their mistakes and are taught to withstand all kinds of pressures and not buckle under stress.

A production kitchen is a zone of zero tolerance. One has to be a performer, constantly on the feet to deliver and deal with unexpected situations or else you perish. One needs to be in an enthusiastic and competitive spirit always.

Me: What according to you makes a great chef?
CV:
Passion for food. More than the love of eating, the love for creating and the love for serving people with what you create is the key.
A great chef should have the hunger to learn more, strong physically and mentally to withstand all the hard work and also someone who thinks smartly. Above it all, he should be very excited at all times when it comes to cooking.

Me: A memorable day in the kitchen for you is?
CV:
When you are passionate about the kitchen, each day is memorable as each day you are creating something no matter how repetitive. Each dish is like new even if you are making if for the nth time.

In the training kitchen, however, a memorable day is when a student gets a certificate and he walks up to you to say a heart-felt Thank You for all the knowledge imparted and values inculcated during the teaching.

Me: Would you want to do something different a few years from now?
CV:
Not a different industry, but certainly different from teaching. I would love to write on the Culinary Industry, Trivia with regards to food and its botanical history tracing back to its roots.

Me: If not culinary, what would have you chosen as an alternative career?
CV:
I would most definitely be a historian. Probably an Archaeologist.

Me: Lastly, after a day of training and mentoring students what do you do to recharge yourself?
CV:
I listen to all kinds of classical music and retro Hindi songs by Kishore Kumar and then I am completely ready to face a new day.

The post In Conversation with Chef Vinod – The detail oriented mentor instructor appeared first on ICCA.

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Gelato, a milk-based frozen dessert from Italy, flavoured with fruit & nut purees and other exciting flavours is a favourite of many around the world. It is creamy and yummy but is definitely not another name for ice cream. People of all ages love gelato and it is one of the best desserts Italy has to offer to the frozen dessert lovers. Although this dessert is traditionally Italian, it has become extremely popular that we can see gelaterias opening in many parts of the world.

Today, many foodpreneurs are showing interest in opening gelaterias either as a part of their existing business or on its own. To become a successful gelatiere, one should learn the art of making gelato in the most authentic way possible. Carpigiani Gelato University – Bologna, Italy is one such place where you will learn gelato making like a traditional Italian artisan. It is recognised as the most prestigious gelato school in the world that has produced the most number of Gelato Entrepreneurs world over.

Coming to the Middle East, ICCA Dubai is the only official international partner campus of Carpigiani Gelato University that delivers the complete curricula in its state of the art Gelato training facility. The ICCA – Carpigiani Gelato University offers an intense five-day Gelato program that comprises both theory and practical learning.

The program is a great platform for aspiring Gelato Entrepreneurs to get together their knowledge about the product and the business. It includes creating plentiful flavours of gelatos, learning how to achieve the perfect taste and texture, the do’s and don’ts in gelato making, technical details, knowing the chemistry and mathematics involved in the process and much more. The program will also give an insight into the hygiene practices, gelateria interior design and the economic feasibility of the business.

If you are an aspiring gelato entrepreneur in the Middle East or anywhere near, ICCA- Carpigiani Gelato University Dubai is the go-to place for you to learn everything about gelato in all its authenticity from the Masters itself.

The post ICCA-Carpigiani Gelato University Dubai appeared first on ICCA.

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Given Turkey’s rich history many of their most beloved dishes are influenced by neighbouring cuisines. Certain delicacies, however, are prominent and named after significant Turkish cities.  Well known appetizers to the specific regions have been looked into for this feature. Beef/Lamb/chicken kebabs in local aromatic spices cause pleasant chaos to the senses.  They don’t fall back in desserts as well…. let’s explore and relish this eid.

                                                                                          Appetizers

Borek with spiced charcoal smoked beef and pistachios

Börek is a generic term for Turkish savoury pastry made from wrapping thin loaves known as yufka or filo pastry with a filling made with aromatic spices and then cooking it. It’s thought to hail from Anatolia in today’s central Turkey. It spread considerably during Ottoman times and today it’s a traditional food way beyond the central Anatolian region. It’s hard to know where to start with börek. Shapes, textures and fillings can all be varied according to taste. The varieties are nearly endless.

Recipe

Ingredients: Quantity
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Onion, finely chopped 1 no
Garlic, minced 3 cloves
Minced beef 500 gm
Pistachios, roughly chopped 50 gm
Dried Apricot, finely chopped 30 gm
Assorted bell peppers, finely chopped 50 gm
Turkish red pepper flakes 10 gm
Roasted & ground cumin 10 gm
Roasted & ground coriander 10 gm
All spice powder 10 gm
Smoked paprika 10 gm
Oregano, dried 10 gm
Ground ginger 10 gm
Ground cinnamon 10 gm
Fresh parsley, finely chopped A/R
Salt  & pepper A/R
For Borek
Egg 1 pc
Olive oil 100 ml
Yogurt 100 ml
Milk 100 ml
Filo pastry 200 gm
Sesame seeds for topping A/R

Method

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a saucepan, heat Olive oil over medium heat until caramelized. Add in the minced meat and all the dry spices and mix and sauté.
  3. Mix in the pistachios, apricots, assorted bell peppers and parsley.
  4. For the Assembly of borek:In a bowl, whisk together the egg and olive oil. When combined, add in the yoghurt, and then the milk.
  5. Line a baking sheet with baking paper
  6. Take two sheets of pastry, making sure they are exactly on top of each other, Cut the sheets in half length-wise.
  7. Spread around 1 tbsp of the egg mixture on each, making sure the pastry is thoroughly moist on top.
  8. Add a tbsp of the filling at one end of the pastry.
  9. Roll it up until the filling is covered. Fold in the sides and continue to roll till the end.
  10. Place on the baking paper, seam side down. Brush the börek rolls with the egg mixture.
  11. Sprinkle over sesame seeds.
  12. Bake the börek until golden and cooked through.
  13. Leave the böreks to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Rose borek with spiced potato

This Borek is called rose borek because of the rose shape the pastry is rolled into.

Recipe

Ingredients Quantity
Potatoes, boiled and mashed Olive oilOnion (chopped)Garlic (minced) 500 gm2 tbsp1 no.

3-4 cloves

MilkRoasted ground cuminRoasted ground coriander

Cayenne pepper

Red chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley, finely chopped

For Borek

Milk

Olive Oil

Filo pastry

Egg Yolk

Sesame seeds

 

50 ml10 gm10 gm

10 gm

10 gm

A/R

A/R

200 ml

100 ml

200 gm

2 no

A/R

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic till softened.
  3. Add the mashed potatoes and the dry spices and mix.
  4. Add in the milk and mix. Add in the herbs and mix.
  5. For the Assembly of borek: Whisk the milk and olive oil together in a bowl.
  6. Using two sheets of Filo pastry, brush the whole of the top side of the pastry with the milk/oil mixture
  7. Add about 2 tbsp of the filling in a thin strip.
  8. Roll up from the end of the filling into a long sausage.
  9. Brush a little extra milk/oil mixture at the end to seal if needed. Swirl the börek sausage into a rose/swirl shape, making sure to keep the end with 3-4 cm clearance out.
  10. Flatten the end with the fingers and put underneath the börek rose to seal. Set aside on the baking parchment.
  11. Brush the rose böreks first with the milk/oil mixture until the top and sides are moist, then with the egg yolk. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  12. Bake the börek until golden and cooked through.
  13. Leave the böreks to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

                                                                                        Main Course

Adana Kebab

Kebabs of all kinds are common in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. This particular version is named after the city of Adana in Turkey, where it is said to have originated and is traditionally made of minced lamb/beef mounted on a skewer and grilled over charcoal. Different cities and regions debate over how spicy the Adana Kebab should be.

Recipe

Ingredients: Quantity
Beef mince 500 gm
onion minced 1 no
garlic peeled and minced 3-4 cloves
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Roasted & ground cumin 2 tbsp
Roasted and ground coriander 2 tbsp
Ground sumac 1 tbsp
Smoked Paprika powder 1 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper A/R
Red chilli flakes A/R
clarified butter 2 tbsp
Freshly chopped parsley A/R

Method

  1. Marinate the ground beef with all the above ingredients
  2. Knead the mixture by hand until all combined.  Rest in the chiller overnight
  3. Grease hands with oil and take equal portions of the mince to form balls and thread them onto the skewer, then shape and release on to a baking sheet.
  4. Grill the kebabs, at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 12 minutes, until well charred on both sides.
  5. Serve the kebabs on warm pita or naan bread with sliced red onions, parsley, tomatoes, and diced cucumbers.

Turkish Chicken Kebab

Recipe

Ingredients: Quantity
Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless 1 kg
Greek yogurt 500 gm
Tomato paste 300 gm
Olive Oil ½ cup
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Ginger minced 1 inch piece
Ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp
Onion, finely chopped 1 no
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 30 ml
Dried Oregano 1 tbsp
Roasted & ground cumin 1 tbsp
Roasted and ground coriander 1 tbsp
Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
All spice powder 1 tsp
Smoked paprika powder 1 tbsp
Cayenne pepper 1 tbsp
Red chilli flakes A/R
Salt and freshly crushed black pepper A/R
Clarified butter for basting A/R

Method

  1.  Marinate the chicken with all the above ingredients except the clarified butter, and chill overnight.
  2. Thread on skewer and grill in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius till cooked and charred.
  3. Baste with clarified butter and serve with sliced onions, Turkish pide and minted yogurt.

                                                                                         Dessert

Semolina helva with pine nuts also known as irmik helvasi

Dessert  helva in Turkish cuisine is prepared by browning large amounts of semolina or flour in butter, then adding sweetened milk or water to create a soft, cooked paste. Helva plays an important role in Turkish culture. It’s a dessert that’s traditionally prepared at milestone events in a family’s life. Helva is made for all important life events, to commemorate births, deaths, marriages, circumcisions, leaving for and returning from army service, and even as a prayer for rain. Helva is also served on religious holy days and during holidays like Ramadan and Eid. During the Ottoman period, it was common practice for helva to be distributed to the poor on Fridays, Islam’s holy day of the week.

Recipe

Ingredients: Quantity
Semolina 1 cup
Butter, unsalted ½ cup
Sugar ½ cup
Milk 1 cup
Pinenuts 30 gm
Rose water 2 tbsp
Orange zest 1 tbsp

Method

  1.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Simultaneously, heat milk and sugar in another saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling turn off the flame, add in the rose water and orange zest, mix and set aside.
  3. Add in the pine nuts and semolina in the melted butter and roast to a golden colour while continuously stirring.
  4. Once roasted add in the milk mixture and mix and cook till all liquid evaporates.
  5. Serve warm with Turkish Icecream.

Watch the Turkish Cuisine recipe video here.

The post Celebrating Eid with Turkish Cuisine appeared first on ICCA.

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Have you ever wondered what is it that makes these great chefs so successful in their profession? We know that they all have one thing in common which is their exceptional ability to cook. However, mastering the skills to prepare great food is not enough, and there’s much more to it when it comes to finding success in the culinary world.

Nowadays, anyone who enters the world of culinary arts aspires to become a chef but due to the fierce competition in the industry, it requires a lot more than passion and training to get you up there in the game. So, let’s take a look at the must-have traits that make a great chef.

Organizational Skills

Being in a commercial kitchen is not just about cooking food; it takes a lot of careful planning and organizational skills to deliver quality work efficiently on time. And, when we say organizational skills, this goes beyond mise-en-place which is getting your ingredients, knives, pots and ovens ready before you start cooking.

Once you begin to take leadership roles in the kitchen you will understand the systematized touches on all aspects of a chef’s role. Staffing effectively, easy flow of traffic to the kitchen during busy hours, menu management, waste management, purchase and so much more come on to a chef’s plate when managing a kitchen. To handle all of these, a chef has to possess some good organizational skills to work his/her way up on the culinary ladder.

Desire to Learn

In any profession, if you’re really passionate about your work you will never lose the desire to learn more no matter at what stage your career is. And, this is very much true especially when it comes to a creative professional such as a chef. The difference between a good chef and a great chef is that the latter learns new things from every situation and people they interact with, regardless of their professional seniority. They always keep themselves updated with new industry trends and constantly keep experimenting to upgrade their knowledge.

Physical & Mental Stamina

Working in a kitchen demands a lot of physical as well as mental stamina. A chef should have the ability to keep going for long hours under high pressure on their feet, along with cuts, burns and greasy sweats which are all part of this profession. Also, a chef has to cope up with odd working hours that come along with high expectations and demands where one needs both physical and mental stamina to stay focused and deliver the best. So, if you’re mentally prepared, you will manage to push through these physical discomforts.

Flexibility & Efficiency to Multi-task

Multi-tasking is one of the most important traits of a great chef. In the kitchen, you are expected to handle a wide of range of tasks in a very efficient manner. It is only possible when you’re used to multi-tasking from your training period itself. Along with the multitasking, a chef should also be flexible enough to be a good team player. Sometimes, there occur situations due to a shortage of staff where you will have to step in and fill in the shoes to finish the work on time along with your team rather than playing the stereotype dictator head-chef role. In short, for a chef, no job is too mundane or low for his standards.

Creativity

There’s no doubt that a chef is a creative professional and creativity is what a chef is made of. Be it in flavours or presentation, it is the creative aspect of cooking that attracts people to an eatery. It is not just about following what you have learned in the culinary school but is about applying what you’ve learned in a deliciously creative way of your own. Being creative in the kitchen helps you cope with challenging situations such as a lack of a particular ingredient, which a creatively talented chef will be able to efficiently cover up.

So, if you think you have what it takes to be a successful culinary professional, then look up these attributes in yourself and be willing to nurture them further so that you can help yourself to reach for that culinary greatness.

The post 5 Essential Traits of a Culinary Professional appeared first on ICCA.

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Chocolate, the term that is enough to make us drool, is the ultimate choice for all the dessert lovers. When we think about chocolate, we either picture a bar of chocolate or a rich & moist chocolate cake with some perfectly whipped chocolate frosting. We mostly relate it to some kind of dessert to relish, although if you go through the history of chocolate it was strictly consumed as a bitter & spiced rich drink by the elites of the society.

According to the researches, the Mayans of Central America are believed to be the first to discover cocoa and to make this frothy chocolate drink out of the cocoa beans which became a treasured Mayan treat followed by many cultures including the Aztecs, and the Europeans for several centuries. This drink was held in such high esteem that the Mayans used to call it the “food of the gods.” It is said that even the word ‘chocolate’ was derived out of the Mayan word ‘Xocolatl’ which means ‘bitter water.’

During the Aztec period, after them conquering the Mayans, cocoa beans were very valuable that it was even considered equivalent to currency as it became the force of the Aztec economy. They used the beans as money and as far the Aztecs were concerned, money really did grow on trees.

It was much later when Hernan Cortes landed in the Aztec homeland and took the beans from there and introduced it to Spain. He not only introduced the bean but he also took the recipe and the equipment necessary to make the frothy chocolate bitter drink that was all the rage in Central America. Although Cortes was amazed at how much this drink valued to the Aztecs, personally, he did not enjoy the drink much and that made him warm up the drink a little which tasted better and thus the very first version of hot chocolate was born.

Spain kept cocoa a secret for a very long time, however, as the Spanish cooks started experimenting with the recipe by sweetening it to make it taste better, its popularity quickly spread to other European countries as well. Soon cocoa found its way to France and in a few years, the first chocolaterie was opened in Paris where they followed the same method of preparing the drink as Mayans and Aztecs did.

Chocolate soon made its jump to the Great Britain where it was received with much enthusiasm and respect that it soon opened up so many English chocolate houses, much like our coffee shops.

It was in the 1700s, owing to the industrial revolution there were different types of equipment and machines invented for the grinding of the beans which led to the mass production of cocoa and also the cocoa press that was used to squeeze the cocoa butter out of the bean leaving the butter and the cocoa powder separate. All these inventions especially the cocoa press helped in making the chocolate tastier, smoother and creamier leading to the formation of chocolate bars, milk chocolates or cocoa powder for baking.

At last in the 1800s the Fry Company of Bristol in England made the first ever edible chocolate after a 1000- plus- years of chocolate as a beverage and the rest is history.

It’s true that today chocolate is a high-end industry in itself and technology has played a huge role in its success. However, there is always something special about the good old artisan way of chocolate making where everything is handpicked and handmade. It’s a wonderful feeling to connect with your creations especially when you’re making some lusciously decadent artisan chocolates. And what better way is to have that connection than by learning the Artisan way of chocolate making to have hands-on experience in the creation of such satiating edible art?

The post A Brief Note on the History of Chocolate appeared first on ICCA.

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ICCA Dubai by Shruti Raj - 8M ago

We all are well aware of the fact that our senses play a significant role in the kitchen. When we speak about our senses in cooking, the first things that come to our mind are the aroma, taste and the texture of the food. Throughout the cooking process we smell the food, taste it and touch it to check the doneness.

The above said are the classic practices that are carried out in any kitchen for a perfect cooking experience.  But, have you ever tried listening to your food while cooking? Sounds crazy? Well, it’s real, the food you cook does talk to you, and all you have to do is listen to it intently to know about your cooking.

A kitchen is usually noisy with some obvious sounds of mixer grinders and utensils. However, amidst those usual sounds, there are many subtle whisperings of food being cooked that can help you become a seasoned hand in the kitchen.

The sizzle of meat hitting the grill, the searing sound of onions getting browned in a skillet, the sputtering sound of mustard in oil, the turbulent sound of water boiling, etc. are some of those subtle sounds that many of us don’t pay much attention to while cooking at home. However, taking note of these sounds in detail and understand the status of the food being cooked can only be done by a professional.

If you ask a Chef, he would agree that these restrained sounds can teach you a lot more about cooking than you can even expect. There is a world of difference in the sounds of each step in cooking; sweating and sautéing has no sound to sizzling sound, when deep frying you will hear bubbling and sputtering sounds, boiling and simmering has serious bubbling sound to silent bubbling, same kind of sound variations goes in whipping, creaming and for many more processes.

Sounds in the kitchen are loaded with information which is helpful for a budding chef. Checking every now and then is a good practice, but it is even better to listen to what you hear when you are in the kitchen. The practice can make you check on the food before it gets close to being over-cooked leading to the last minute mad rush.

Mastering the art of listening in the kitchen while cooking, requires proper training and expertise. What separates the great chefs from the mediocre ones, is the extra effort spent in learning the techniques well. At ICCA, we ensure that you are on the right track to attune yourself to the kitchen symphony

The post Sounds in the Kitchen appeared first on ICCA.

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A culinary school is where the transformation of passionate home cooks into world-class chefs begin. As tough and disciplinary as it is, culinary school is not only about following a strict regime but is also a fun and rewarding place if you have the passion for it. Having said that, it is good to know in prior that training in the kitchen could drain you down both physically and emotionally. So, it is important to make sure that you know what you are getting into before starting your professional culinary journey.

A professional kitchen is entirely different from our comforting home kitchen. It is a lot more intense than you could think; the knives are sharper, burners are hotter, and there are so many new and advanced equipment & tools to deal with.  Also, in a professional kitchen, you are required to work at a pace which you might find difficult to catch up with initially.

For beginners, cuts and burns are almost inevitable in the kitchen especially when you work at a pace like that. Everything in the kitchen is sharp and hot, and it’s just a matter of time to get a hold on to it without hurting yourself physically. It is expected to happen, and you will learn to deal with it in time.

Coming to the emotional exhaustion of being in a kitchen, there is no doubt that you will face some trials in there as well. Amidst the cuts, burns and sweat that you go through in the kitchen, sometimes you will also get yelled at, for not doing a very good job at cooking which you always thought you are best at. It is better if you have a good support system to help you keep motivated through this period. But again, this how it is, everyone feels this way and you will definitely get past this.

None of this would be that big a problem once you are mentally prepared for it before joining the kitchen, and eventually, all of this will just feel normal to you.

When you’re in the school, you might think that you are already doing a lot and that would be it. The fact is, cooking will take over your life and everything you do on a daily basis will start reflecting more of your kitchen behaviour.

The last and the most important thing is regardless of how much you slog in the culinary school that alone will never get you the ticket to becoming an exceptional chef. Culinary school is all about learning the basics, and what you build for your future out of it depends on how well you continue to put your skills to work, to learn more and achieve greater heights.

Do keep in mind that all great chefs began the same way, and all you need is the passion and perseverance to prove that you are made for the kitchen and it will reward you back in more ways than one.

The post The Real Deal of Professional Kitchen appeared first on ICCA.

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ICCA Dubai by Shagufta Patel - 8M ago

A rich, decadent concoction in the right measure, the perfect cup of coffee is like a warm hug on a cold day. For many of us it is not just coffee, it is a state of mind! Coffee with swirls and patterns made with froth on the top is becoming a skill and trend among baristas all over. As we know in every type of food, presentation is inseparable from substance. Why should it be anything different for coffee – a beverage that keeps us going?

Coffee geek lore has it that latte art started in the mid-eighties by Espresso Vivace’s David Schomer. Around the same time, a gentleman named Luigi Lupi was doing it in Italy. Baristas today are competing head-to-head in this competition as they display their artistry. They are trying to create everything from classic designs like smiles to tougher ones like a phoenix or sunrise.

Be it the classic heart or delicate fern designs, latte art is enough to perk anyone up and give them a mental pick-me-up. Employing mediums of milk and espresso to form, this aesthetic value is unmistakable when done right! The styles of latte art like free pouring and etching need to be understood closely. When properly prepared, the top of the mixture is so smooth that it actually shines. Getting these drinkable designs right is a matter of striking balance, symmetry, presentation and originality in the art.

Things may start out puffy in the beginning, but practise alone can help you master it. The knowledgeable sessions at ICCA taught by Sam Tan Sze Yuin who is an ‘International Barista Champion’, will help you with understanding everything from texturing to the foaming stage right! So embrace the stunning presentation possibilities of the latte art. As you promote respect for coffee as a culinary art, get a treasured reaction from your guests which will be enough to brighten up your day!

The post Art In Your Coffee appeared first on ICCA.

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